Measuring our impact

How we are measuring our mission to improve the lives of
people severely affected by mental illness.

Creating our Impact Framework

Our vision as a charity is to ensure that everyone severely affected by mental illness is able to live their best lives. By this we mean individuals living with mental illness, their carers and their friends and families having a good quality of life which is on a par with everyone else.

Rethink Mental Illness has a wide remit; we have services, groups, helplines, and we work in a variety of settings, such as hospitals, care homes, prisons and in the community. We're dedicated to providing practical support, accessible online advice and information resources, and comprehensive training. Feedback regularly informs the way we work, but we wanted to create a way to understand more deeply our effectiveness: what works well, and what works less well.

We wanted to see the impact of our work; to see if our targets to create the best possible quality of life for people living with severe mental illness were on track, and see how we can continue to make improvements. In order to do this, we have created an Impact Framework. This strategic approach helps guide us in what information to collect across everything we do as an organisation. It gives us a clearer picture of our impact and how we are making a difference for people severely affected by mental illness.

Our framework helps us:
How do we know we make a difference?

Whether our work as a charitable organisation makes a difference is a hugely valid and difficult question to answer. In this podcast, Deputy CEO Brian Dow chats with our Head of Evidence and Impact, Richard McManus, to help understand how we measure our work.

Listen to our podcast

Our vision for a better future

Before we could measure our impact, we needed to first work out what a good quality of life looked like to people with lived experience of severe mental illness and carers. We worked with thousands of people with severe mental illness, carers, professionals, and through research and engagement, agreed upon the following key areas:

What we have found so far

We have started using our Impact Framework to measure the difference we make across our organisation. Some of the findings are shown below:

Impact in numbers
  • 84%
    Improved quality of life
    84% of people across all of our services said the support they received improved their quality of life
  • 94%
    Feeling involved in their care
    94% of people supported by our prisons services felt involved in their care planning
  • 85%
    Feel less isolated
    85% of carers we support felt less socially isolated and more connected
  • 96%
    Improved mental health & wellbeing
    96% of our community service users show improved mental health and wellbeing
  • 82%
    Achieving their goals
    82% of our supported accommodation service users are making progress to their goals
  • 92%
    Would recommend us
    92% of all of our service users would recommend the service
I developed a very strong friendship with one of the residents, who helped me to develop my independence. We’d go out into the local community, like shopping in town and going for coffee.
Impact in service users own words

"I don't feel scared now I'm not alone. I also feel safe having staff to reach out to if I need to, and I feel if things get too much I have someone to reach out to instead of harming myself."

Herbert House Crisis Accommodation Service User
“I wouldn't be back at work without it. I didn't think I'd ever be able to work again but it gave me the confidence to do so. Being in work has improved my mental health a lot. I'm very grateful.”
North Warwickshire IPS Employment Service User

"I have had great support and didn't want it to end. I was supported with debts, activities and being sociable."
Care Navigation service user
"It's helped me to keep safe, talking to staff has validated me and my intrusive suicidal thoughts have lessened. It's helped me become responsible for taking medication, it's helped me re-establish regular eating"
Somerset Step Up service user

“Having support has made a massive difference. without the support from Martin I wouldn't be here now. I still have a long way to go but I am now getting help from mental health services and have been having EMDR treatment.”

Sanctuary Community Mental Health Service user
“The community support service has made a difference in my life I am able to meet people, I no longer feel like a prisoner in my home and that is an amazing feeling to overcome."
Brent Community Mental Health Service User
Key principles of the Impact Framework
What happens next?

But we know we are not there yet. We need to do much more to measure our impact and use this information to learn and improve. We need to keep checking that how we are working is benefiting people. We need to keep investing in new approaches and involving people with experience at every level. We also need to work closely with others to make sure we are campaigning influencing the government, improving services, and truly transforming community mental health.

We won't stop until all people affected by severe mental illness have the best quality of life possible. We will continue to use our Impact Framework to guide what we do and how we best use our resources to achieve our mission.

We are also really keen to get feedback on the questions we are asking as we want to ensure we are continually improving our ways of capturing and using the responses that we get. If you would like to send us feedback, please email

Download our Impact Framework
To read the full document about our Impact Framework,
please click on the button below.
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